The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives, an agency of the Federal Government, on Monday, blamed the over three-week scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, on the continued subsidy on PMS.
It explained that the solution to the country’s prolonged fuel crisis was to halt the subsidy regime as canvassed by stakeholders including the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, but was quick to state that the Federal Government had its reasons for retaining it.
This came as officials of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria told our correspondent on Monday that the ex-depot price of petrol by private tank farm owners had risen to N180/litre. The approved ex-depot price for petrol is between N145 – N148/litre. Last week, it was reported that the price by private tank farm owners was hiked to between N162 – N167/litre, but on Monday it jumped to N180/litre.
As the crisis in the downstream oil sector continued on Monday, queues for petrol by motorists in the few filling stations that had products, grew worse, with many fuel users spending several hours under the sun just to buy PMS.
Commenting on the petrol crisis at a briefing in Abuja, the Executive Secretary, NEITI, Orji Ogbonnaya-Orji, described the current petrol scarcity as a symptom, while the main disease was the subsidy.
He said, “At the moment, the NNPC and the Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority are seriously working hard to restore normalcy.
“I was in touch with the top management of the relevant organisations and I am aware of the amount of work and pressure that have gone into this. But let me say this, fuel scarcity is just a mere symptom, subsidy is the main disease.”
On the rise in ex-depot price of petrol, the National Public Relations Officer, IPMAN, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, said tank farm owners were currently dispensing the product at N180/litre.
This, he said, was why many filling stations were selling petrol at over N200/litre, higher than the approved N162 to N165/litre pump price.
Our members sell products as they buy from private depots since the private tank farms are the only source of supply,” Ukadike stated.
He added, “In our bid to serve our environment, we move further to source this product at the cost of N180/litre from private tank farms”
To address the situation, Ukadike said the National President of IPMAN, Debo Ahmed, had appealed to the Pipelines Product Marketing Company, a subsidiary of NNPC, to send products to its (PPMC) 21 inland depots.
He explained that this would enable IPMAN members to buy products at government-regulated rate. IPMAN operates about 90 per cent of filling stations across the country.
Ukadika said members of the association had suffered undue hardship since the fuel crisis in the downstream sector started and appealed to NMDPRA to do needful and ensure that erring depot owners were made to comply.
Depot owners had earlier told our correspondent that the hike in ex-depot price for petrol was basically due to the newly introduced transshipment charges by the NNPC on PMS.